Food for infants: The homemade miracle grain
Did you know that some food for your infants is, in a sense, part of grandma's kitchen recipe list?
Child nutrition expert, Nidhi Mehta, explains how certain grains and pulses can be further enriched to assure your child of a healthy growth pattern. She says:
Amylase Rich Food or ARF is a good complementary food for infants and is made from grains like wheat, jowar, rice, bajra as well as pulses such as whole moong and tur dal. These cereals and pulses, that are served in a ratio of 2:1, assure your children of adequate proteins. If you wish to serve a complete meal to your infant, mix the combination with some vegetable soup or fruit juice. Interestingly, ARF is also an effective solution to combat malnutrition.
How is it prepared?
- Soak the grains and/ or whole pulses overnight
- Drain the water and tie the grains in a clean muslin cloth. Hang it or put it in a vessel and keep it covered. Store the grains in a cool dark place for about 12-18 hours. Remember to keep sprinkling the grains with water every eight hours. If the room is hot, wash the grains from time to time and hang them again using a muslin cloth. or (Note: you don’t need to sprinkle water on a cloth storing rice)
- Once the pulses are germinated, dry the pulses and grains under the sun or in an oven.
- Transfer the grains as well as the pulses to a pan and roast them on low flame.
- Grind and store the flour in a clean dry container for future use.
How and when can you baby have ARF?
Infants as young as six-months-old can be introduced to ARF. You can alter the consistency of the meal according to the tastes and preferences of your baby. It could be served either in the form of porridge, soups or even be mixed with milk.
Don’t fear. If roasted and stored well, ARF can last up to 12 months.
So, go ahead! Treat your little baby to a lip-smacking meal!
(With inputs from Good Food for Kids by Dr. Umesh Vaidya and Krisha Krishnani)